Past Indies Introduce

    Summer/Fall 2016


    • Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
      Knopf/Random House, 9781101947135, June 7, 2016 (Fiction)

      "Homegoing spans 300 years, beginning in Ghana and ending in America. The story is beautifully rendered, with characters whose sufferings and triumphs you share. You are given insight into the history of the slave trade and generations later, we see the impact on the lives of individual characters. It's a stunning debut! Not to be missed!”

      -Sarajane Giddings, Blue Door Books (Cedarhurst, NY)

    • A Meal in Winter: A Novel of World War II, Hubert Mingarelli
      The New Press, 9781620971734, July 5, 2016 (Fiction)

      “Beginning with two German soldiers leaving their Einsatzgruppe to avoid one more day of killing Jews, this simple morality tale will bewitch you with its absolutely perfect pacing.”

      -Ingrid Goatson, Boulder Book Store (Boulder, CO)

    • The Party Wall, Catherine Leroux
      Biblioasis, 9781771960762, July 12, 2016 (Fiction)

      “Intricate and multi-layered, The Party Wall reflects how interconnected the world can be. I don’t have the words to do this book justice. Just read it — the ending will deliver; I promise.”

      -Valerie Welbourn, Novels & Novelties Bookstore (Hendersonville, NC)

    • The Monster's Daughter, Michelle Pretorius
      Melville House, 9781612195384, July 19, 2016 (Fiction)

      “Can science fiction, historical fiction, and a serial murder mystery peacefully coexist in the same novel? In The Monster’s Daughter, the answer is an emphatic yes. Clearly drawn characters converge to resolve a decades-old mystery and move to a tense and satisfying conclusion.”

      -Joe Strebel, Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville, IL)

    • Half Wild, Robin MacArthur
      Ecco/HarperCollins, 9780062444394, August 2, 2016 (Fiction)

      "While the inhabitants of these interconnected stories all live in a tight-knit community in rural Vermont, Half Wild is anything but provincial. True, these characters belong to the place they come from, but, first and foremost, they belong to each other.”

      -Sam Kaas, Village Books (Bellingham, WA)

    • Children of the New World, Alexander Weinstein
      Picador/Macmillan, 9781250098993, September 13, 2016 (Fiction)

      “These realistic scenarios, set in a not-too-distant future, made me really think about all the technology I’ve come to depend on in my everyday life. You’ll want your book club to read it, plus your significant other and your neighbor. You’ll want to share this excellent book so you can keep thinking about it and talk about it, too.”

      -Sue Roegge, Chapter2Books (Hudson, WI)

    • A Whole Life, Robert Seethaler
      Farrar, Straus and Grioux/Macmillan, 9780374289867, September 13, 2016 (Fiction)

      A Whole Life is an elegant, compact, and atmospheric tale of a life in the Alps, of time passing, of changing times, of loss and love and war. The writing is precise and the mood intense. It is the perfect book for a quiet, rainy day with a cup of tea.”

      -Pete Mulvihill, Green Apple Books (San Francisco, CA)

    • The Clay Girl, Heather Tucker
      ECW, 9781770413030, October 11, 2016 (Fiction)

      "This novel is full of those take-away-your-breath lines, the ones you want to write down and keep in your pocket for when you need them. Ari joins the ranks of heroines like Lyra Belacqua or Liesel Meminger, girls who take the worst society has to offer and turn it into strength and kindness.”

      -Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Bookstore (Riverside, CA)

    • The Comet Seekers, Helen Sedgwick
      Harper/HarperCollins, 9780062448767, October 11, 2016 (Fiction)

      “This moving novel establishes its unique tone and lyrical beauty from the opening sentence and sustains that level through a multi-generational story of the tension of loyalty to family and home against the lure and opportunities of the outside world."

      -Joe Strebel, Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville, IL)


    • The Drone Eats with Me: A Gaza Diary, Atef Abu Saif
      Beacon, 9780807049105, July 5, 2016 (Non-Fiction)

      "Atef Abu Saif’s journal of the incessant bombing of the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014 presents a voice we usually do not hear. Saif gives names and faces to the anonymous people presented in the daily news. His personal account, presented clearly and passionately, is testimony that must be heard."

      -Mary Fran Buckley, Eight Cousins (Falmouth, MA)

    Middle Grade

    • This is Not a Werewolf Story, Sandra Evans
      Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 9781481444804, July 26, 2016 (Middle Grade)

      "Raul is a loner — the only child not picked up on the weekend. Or is he? The language leaps from the page with imagery as we delve into his magical weekends, which teem with animal references, Native American themes, and serious childhood problems. There is something in this for everyone.”

      -Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston, TX)

    • The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes, Wade Albert White
      Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette, 9780316305280, September 13, 2016 (Middle Grade)

      “Anne has been an orphan living a depressing life at the St. Lupin’s Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children for almost 13 years. Middle-school readers, many of whom have read Harry Potter, will like the adventures and fast-paced action that takes place in this story.”

      -Kathy Taber, Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore (Indianapolis, IN)

    • Gertie's Leap to Greatness, Kate Beasley
      Farrar, Straus and Grioux (BYR)/Macmillan, 9780374302610, October 4, 2016 (Middle Grade)

      “Gertie is on a mission — to be the greatest fifth-grader ever! But things never quite to work out like she plans. You will love Gertie’s spunk and moxie as much as I did and will cheer her on as she stumbles, falls, and leaps to greatness.”

      -Lisa Nehs, Books & Company (Oconomowoc, WI)

    Young Adult

    • Learning to Swear in America, Katie Kennedy
      Bloomsbury USA Children's Books/Bloomsbury, 9781619639096, July 5, 2016 (Young Adult)

      Learning to Swear in America is a tale of firsts. This will be the first time in the U.S. for Yuri, his first time making friends, his first time kissing a girl, his first time swearing in English, and, oh, his first time saving the entire planet from destruction.Through Yuri’s perfectly written voice, Kennedy tells the story of a fledgling teen finally getting the chance to be a kid.”

      -Janelle Smith, Auntie’s Bookstore (Spokane, WA)

    • The Killer in Me, Margot Harrison
      Disney-Hyperion/Disney Publishing Worldwide, 9781484727997, July 12, 2016 (Young Adult)

      “Nina cannot sleep at night, because every time she closes her eyes she sees inside the mind of a killer. As Nina tries to stop the murders from happening she makes a shocking discovery.This book is a fantastic read. I was hooked from the first page and could not stop reading until I was done. Don’t miss this one!”

      -Lisa Nehs, Books & Company (Oconomowoc, WI)

    • How to Hang a Witch, Adriana Mather
      Knopf (BYR)/Random House Children's Books, 9780553539479, July 26, 2016 (Young Adult)

      “When Samantha Mather, descended from a villain of the Salem witch trials, is forced to move to Salem, her presence sets off a chain of events that could destroy the town. I thoroughly enjoyed this modern-day take on the trials and loved the directions in which Adriana Mather took the story, as well as the historical details she used to frame it. I definitely recommend this.”

      -Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)

    • It Looks Like This, Rafi Mittlefehldt
      Candlewick, 9780763687199, September 6, 2016 (Young Adult)

      “This is a story of growing up gay in a small town. Mike is a kid who never fits in. He doesn’t like sports very much, instead enjoying art and French much better. He is targeted and bullied at school. It Looks Like This is a moving, thought-provoking story of acceptance and self-love that is perfect for everyone of middle-school age and above.”

      -Diane Howell Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop (Decatur, GA)

    • Our Chemical Hearts, Krystal Sutherland
      G.P. Putnam's Sons (BYR)/Penguin, 9780399546563, October 4, 2016 (Young Adult)

      "This is not the story of a simple, easy love. It is messy, it hurts, and the past seems to keep interfering. Henry and Grace are two complicated, multilayered teens. Will it work? Is it worth it? Do they really love each other or are they both really just in need of a good friend?

      -Clarissa Murphy, Brookline Booksmith (Brookline, MA)

    • The Weight of Zero, Karen Fortunati
      Delacorte Press/ Random House Children's Books, 9781101938898, October 11, 2016 (Young Adult)

      “After Catherine is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she doesn’t believe that she’ll survive. She knows that, while right now she’s ok, soul-crushing depression, which she calls Zero, is coming for her. So she decides that she won’t let it get her — she’ll end things before it hits. But she has a few things to do first. Catherine’s bucket list becomes an unlikely source for change as she begins to find hope where she never expected it. This book absolutely floored me. It tore me apart and rebuilt me, in the best possible way. It is by far the best depiction of depression that I’ve read in a very long time. I spent the last half of the book in grateful tears, filled with a deep recognition that gave me hope for life and love for Catherine. I cannot express enough what this book meant to me. Read it. It’ll change you.”

      -Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)

    Young Adult Non-Fiction

    • Every Falling Star, Sungju Lee (and Susan McClelland)
      Amulet Books/Abrams, 9781419721328, September 13, 2016 (Young Adult Non-Fiction)

      “This superb biography is a devastating account of survival amidst the dark and famine-stricken towns and cities along the Chinese–North Korean border. I found it to be an illuminating glimpse into this closed-off country — so much so that I have read it cover to cover twice. I believe that this book will have great staying power in the future.”

      -Biddy Kehoe, Hockessin’s Bookshelf (Hockessin, DE)

    Winter/Spring 2017


    • History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund
      Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802125873, January 3, 2017 (Fiction)

      From the very second I began reading Fridlund’s debut novel, History of Wolves, I was captivated and excited. You just know when you have something truly special in your hands. The voice of 14-year-old protagonist Linda reaches out and grabs you by the throat. This is a debut author immensely talented and fully in command of her craft.

      -Susan Hans O’Connor, Penguin Bookshop (Sewickley, PA)

    • The Futures, Anna Pitoniak
      Lee Boudreaux Books, 9780316354172, January 17, 2017 (Fiction)

      “Julie and Evan, a young couple just out of college, move to New York looking for success and for a place to establish themselves. Their relationship is rocked in the crucible of the big city in a time of financial crisis. I guess one can call it a coming-of-age novel for uncertain times, but it’s one that feels honest and even cathartic because it doesn’t flinch at the complicated and messy ways we relate to each other, especially to those we love. Pitoniak is an astute, unflinching, and sensitive observer of both the tender and terrible dynamics of young love, and she has given us a novel about coming of age in New York and in the 21st century that manages to feel both intimate and familiar. The Futures is a terrific debut from a talented author!” 

      -Dale Zapata, The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles, CA)

    • Rabbit Cake, Annie Hartnett
      Tin House, 9781941040560, March 7, 2017 (Fiction)

      Rabbit Cake details the grief observed, explained, suffered, and experienced by a 12-year-old girl from a memorably zany family. Elvis Babbitt is a precocious child who copes with her sleepwalking mother until her death. Afterwards, Elvis finds solace in her dog, Boomer, her dad’s parrot, and her crazy sister. But she struggles to explain her mother’s death (‘I didn’t believe Mom could be gone completely when there was so much of her left everywhere…’) and finally visits her school psychologist, who helps her chart out her 18 months of grief — an achievable goal for a young woman with a scientific bent. What an unusual collection of characters in this very touching coming-of-age story.

      -Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common (Ridgefield, CT)

    • Temporary People, Deepak Unnikrishnan
      Restless Books, 9781632061423, March 14, 2017 (Fiction)

      In this debut, author Unnikrishnan shares stories of laborers brought to the United Arab Emirates to do menial and everyday jobs. These people have no rights and no fallback if they have problems or health issues in that land. The laborers in Temporary People are sewn back together when they fall, are abandoned in the desert if they become inconvenient, and are even grown from seeds. As a collection of short stories, this is fantastical, imaginative, funny, and, even more so, scary, powerful, and ferocious.

      -Becky Milner, Vintage Books (Vancouver WA)

    • Double Dutch, Laura Trunkey
      Astoria/ House of Anansi Press, 9781770898776, March 14, 2017 (Fiction)

      A young refugee boy who may or may not be the lead in the Second Coming but who is definitely the answer to one failing church’s prayers; an otherwise unremarkable man who is conscripted to be Ronald Reagan’s double and takes his job a little too seriously; six sisters, not all of whom are among the living, who turn their family homestead into a highly irregular hospice and become romantically entangled with their patients, both living and newly dead —Trunkey’s remarkable debut collection of stories, Double Dutch, circles life’s mysteries from unexpected vantage points in these plausibly fantastic stories. I can’t wait to see what she does next. If you enjoy Flannery O’Connor, Jennifer Egan (A Visit From the Goon Squad), Karen Russell (Swamplandia), or simply great writing that surprises and entertains, you will find something to love in these stories by a gifted young writer.

      -Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books (St. Louis, MO)

    • Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time, Andrew Forsthoefel
      Bloomsbury, 9781632867001, April 4, 2017 (Fiction)

      This book could not be coming at a better time. Amidst a calamitous political landscape, Americans today seem wary of their fellow citizens and suspicious of one another’s beliefs, religion, and ethnicity. Forsthoefel does an amazingly wonderful job showing us that our fellow citizens are not to be feared, but instead are to be celebrated for their humanity and their heart. Setting off to walk across the country after graduating college, Forsthoefel aims to get to know the people in the world by taking the time to listen to as many people who cross his path. And the stories he brings us of the individuals he meets along the way, in addition to his own personal journey, are insightful and ultimately uplifting. A thoughtful and inspiring portrait of America today. 

      -Hilary Gustafson, Literati Bookstore (Ann Arbor, MI)

    • The Leavers, Lisa Ko
      Algonquin, 9781616206888, May 2, 2017 (Fiction)

      Deming Guo is a  12-year-old, Chinese-American Bronx naitve. When his mother abandons him without warning, he thinks he will be able to make a life with his mother's friend and her son.  But when that friend gives him up to foster care and he is shipped off to live with white university professors in upstate New York, his life is turned on end once again.  This is a beautifully-written, searing exploration of identity and dislocation.  It is a profoundly American story  and a compulsively fascinating read. I loved it!

      -Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books (St. Louis, MO)


    • The Best We Could Do, Thi Bui
      ABRAMS ComicArts, 9781419718779, March 7, 2017 (Non-Fiction)

      Bui’s graphic memoir is outstanding. As the story of Bui’s life unfolds, from the birth of her child to the dark days of her own childhood in war-torn Vietnam, the reader is drawn in more and more by the poetry of the words as well as the gorgeous black-and-white drawings. The Best We Could Do, a story about the power of family and place and home, is poignant and heart-wrenching, timely, and ultimately uplifting. What an exciting new talent we have in store!

      -Susan Hans O’Connor, Penguin Bookshop (Sewickley, PA)

    • The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, Dan Egan
      WW Norton, 9780393246438, March 7, 2017 (Non-Fiction)

      The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is the most evenhanded piece of ecological writing I’ve come across in a long time. It is an excellent account of the effects humankind has upon nature, in this case the Great Lakes, and of nature’s own resiliency. 

      -Pete Mock, McIntyre's Books (Pittsboro, NV)

    • The Outrun, Amy Liptrot
      WW Norton, 9780393608960, April 25, 2017 (Non-Fiction)

      Escaping to London from her isolated Orkney Island home, Liptrot self-medicates through her 20s until she has lost her lover and most of her friends and belongings. She questions her sanity. From reflecting on her upbringing by a bipolar father and a very religious mother to the bitter and occasionally hazy kaleidoscope of events in London and the eventual need to search for healing, The Outrun is Liptrot’s health and spiritual journey. Liptrot’s voice is so strong and so true, it is impossible not to care about her. Stumbling to understand her alcoholic choices and looking for change, she returns to the isles. In The Outrun, which is part personal revelations, part Orcadian history, and part nature observations, Liptrot chooses a mostly solitary life, using technology to stay in touch and to explore the isles. The minute-by-minute struggle to stay sober counterbalances the ebb and flow of the ocean and winds and the passing seasons. This debut is striking and compelling. I was enthralled by Liptrot’s descriptions of the islands, their history, geology, and living beings. I rooted for her recovery and personal discoveries.

      -Becky Milner, Vintage Books (Vancouver, WA)

    Middle Grade

    • The Ethan I Was Before, Ali Standish
      HarperCollins Children's Books, 9780062433381, January 24, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      The Ethan I Was Before is quietly engaging, heartfelt, and authentic. Sometimes the most meaningful books are not the ones that hit you over the head with issues and drama, but the ones that slowly unfold to tell you a personal story. Standish does just that, through a unique setting and well-drawn cast of supporting characters.

      -Johanna Albrecht, Flyleaf Books (Chapel Hill, NC)

    • How to Stage a Catastrophe, Rebecca Donnelly
      Capstone Young Readers, 9781623708078, April 1, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      Hey kids, Let's put on a show! Calling all former theatre nerds, entrepreneurs, and kids with moxie! We all want to be a part of this gang of friends who unite to save the Juicebox Theater, solve a mystery, and probably achieve world domination. The fast, funny, conversational script style of this middle grade novel draws in young readers and adults alike. It's a perfect "giggle aloud" read for a classroom or backstage with a flashlight.

      -Cynthia Compton, 4 Kids Books (Zionsville, IN)

    • Prisoner of Ice and Snow, Ruth Lauren
      Bloomsbury Children's, 9781681191317, April 4, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      Valor has a plan.  She will almost shoot the prince, get herself sent to prison, find her sister, and break her out. What could go wrong? The first part of her plan goes perfectly, but Valor soon realizes that there is more to this prison, and to her sister’s imprisonment, than meets the eye. Full of satisfying twists and turns, not to mention a unique matriarchal society, Valor’s tale will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

      -Molly Olivo, Barstons Child’s Play (Washington, DC)

    • The Star Thief, Lindsey Becker
      Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316348560, April 11, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      Sky pirates! I repeat: sky pirates! When young protagonist Honorine finds herself swept away on an adventure to the literal stars, she shows us a fantastical world where magic and science swirl together in a bubbly concoction of steampunk goodness. From a fleet of mechanical flying pirate ships to a collection of constellations come to life, this debut has all the ingredients for the beginning of a wonder-filled adventure series. 

      -Bill Grace, Buttonwood Books & Toys (Cohasset, MA)

    • Lemons, Melissa Savage
      Crown Books for Young Readers, 9781524700126, May 2, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      When Lemonade Liberty Witt is forced to move from San Francisco to Willow Creek, California, she is not sure how to handle all of the Bigfoot excitement, small town weirdness, and meeting her grandfather for the first time. In the spirit of making lemonade, Lem takes a job assisting the inquisitive and friendly Tobin, a local Bigfoot investigator, on his search to catch Bigfoot on film. Through her investigations of the town and Bigfoot, Lem might just find the answer to some very big questions, as well as the location of the nearest Bigfoot. Melissa Savage has managed to distill all of the grief of a major loss, the joy of discovery, and the fear of rebuilding into one magnificent middle-grade novel. Lemons is not to be missed. 

      -Molly Olivo, Barstons Child’s Play (Washington, DC)

    Young Adult

    • City of Saints and Thieves, Natalie Anderson
      G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780399547584, January 10, 2017 (Young Adult)

      Tina does not exist. This is her express wish, as thieves who are seen are caught and Tina cannot afford to be so careless. She has a killer to catch. Thus we are introduced to the protagonist of Anderson’s thrilling City of Saints and Thieves, a novel set in the teeming and cacophonous Sangui City, Kenya. We discover that Tina’s mother was murdered and the culprit is Tina’s next target. But knowing who killed her mother does not prepare Tina for why, a revelation that will shape the rest of her life. Anderson’s ensemble of characters is dazzling in its scope and depth, a skill that is only exceeded by her crafting of Tina. Resourceful and loyal, Tina is a young woman burdened by the mantle of adulthood too soon who does whatever she must to outsmart her enemies, avenge her mother, and protect herself. This is a powerful narrative that explores human resilience and loyalty in the face of unspeakable oppression.

      -Romy Griepp, Once Upon a Time (Montrose CA)

    • Daughter of the Pirate King, Tricia Levenseller
      Feiwel & Friends, 9781250095961, February 21, 2017 (Young Adult)

      There is well-written pirate adventure, fantasy fiction, and young adult romance, and then there is this gem that manages to do all three at once. In Daughter of the Pirate King, Levenseller introduces readers to the dangerously cunning Alosa through a fight scene in the first chapter. Within five pages, we are given the thrilling start to an exemplary narrative that ends with an unbelievable twist. Alosa is incredibly portrayed as both a kickass heroine and a maturing young woman, a dual characterization that is admirable and believable. She is thrust into a maritime feud between her father, lord apparent over the pirate world, and two orphaned brothers attempting to make their own mark. In between sword fights and swooning, Levenseller gives us insight into Alosa’s bravery in not just navigating perilous waters but understanding her own power. This is an exemplary reminder of how fantasy can relate to our own lives, especially to those who struggle for self-expression.

      -Romy Griepp, Once Upon a Time (Montrose, CA)

    • You're Welcome, Universe, Whitney Gardner
      Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780399551413, March 7, 2017 (Young Adult)

      Julia might be Deaf, but that hasn’t held her back in her graffiti art, or in life, until she gets turned in for vandalizing her school to save her best friend from humiliation. She gets kicked out and finds herself the only Deaf kid in a hearing school and without a best friend. In the midst of all this chaos, she uses her graffiti skills to claim her place in her new environment. When she is thrust into a graffiti war, she must decide how far she is willing to take things. Julia is not always likable, but you will spend the book rooting for her anyway. Gardner has managed to make a very specific and angst-filled story universally appealing and lovable. She gets bonus points for her well-researched depiction of Deaf culture. 

      -Molly Olivo, Barstons Child’s Play (Washington, DC)

    • The Beast Is an Animal, Peternelle van Arsdale
      Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781481488419, March 7, 2017 (Young Adult)

      Using simple but evocative language, van Arsdale weaves a dark fairy tale featuring a heroine and a beast who are neither as simply good or as simply evil as such characters in these stories often are. There’s a love story (but not with the beast — this is not a Beauty and the Beast retelling), but it doesn’t really enter the narrative until close to the end and never devolves into some lurid love triangle or angsty drama. One of the things I enjoyed most about this was the way even the soul-eaters were given backstory and made sympathetic. They weren’t evil to start with, but were made that way by the assumptions of those around them and the stories that were told about them. This is, ultimately, a story about stories and how the tales we tell about ourselves and others shape who we and they become.

      -Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books (McMinnville, OR)

    • Grendel's Guide to Love and War, A.E. Kaplan
      Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780399555541, April 18, 2017 (Young Adult)

      Tom Grendel cannot catch a break. His long-time crush, Willow, has moved into the house next door, Willow's brother (a bro if ever there was one) has started throwing wild parties every night, and Tom's dad, an Iraq war veteran, is suffering from PTSD triggered by the noise from the parties. What's an introverted young lawn-mower to do? Retaliate, of course, with the help of his best friend, college-age sister, and an artisinal pig farm...This couldn't possibly end badly...With shades of John Green and Jesse Andrews (without the rip-your-heart-out tragedy), this novel will delight new and old fans of contemporary YA alike.

      -Emily Hall, Main Street Books (St. Charles, MO)

    Summer/Fall 2017


    • Hum If You Don't Know the Words, Bianca Marais
      G.P. Putnam's Sons, 9780399575068, April 27, 2017 (Fiction)

      “Against the backdrop South Africa in the 1970s, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words follows Robin, a young white girl whose parents were killed, and Beauty, a black woman who searches for her activist daughter in the aftermath of the Soweto uprising. Bianca Marais has written a crisp, clear-eyed story that doesn’t shy away from the racism and devastation of her home country’s apartheid history, while also showing that family and love can come in many forms.”

      -Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First (Chicago, IL)

    • We Shall Not All Sleep, Estep Nagy
      Bloomsbury, 9781632868411, July 4, 2017 (Fiction)

      “I was completely immersed in this perfectly constructed novel of two families vacationing on an island in Maine during the Cold War summer of 1964. Nagy contrasts the warm, idyllic, beautifully rendered setting with the chill of manipulations and deceptions both personal and political. The family dynamics could best be summed up by the father, who explains to his young son how important it is to ‘learn when to lie, to whom, and to do it well.’”

      -Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books (Raleigh, NC)

    • The Graybar Hotel, Curtis Dawkins
      Scribner, 9781501162299, July 4, 2017 (Fiction)

      “Curtis Dawkins is a flat-out great writer who is also incarcerated for life in a Michigan prison for a drug-related homicide. The stories he tells in The Graybar Hotel are small masterpieces of the daily drama of prison life, reminiscent of John Cheever or Raymond Carver. In deceptively simple sentences, Dawkins pries into the inmates’ complex relationships with each other, their coping mechanisms, and their lives on the outside that brought them to where they have ended up. A transformative reading experience.”

      -Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books (Raleigh, NC)

    • Girl in Snow, Danya Kukafka
      Simon & Schuster, 9781501144370, August 1, 2017 (Fiction)

      “I loved the slow-burn mystery quality of this book. It reminded me of Everything I Never Told You in its focus on character instead of plot. It’s a whodunit with the bonus of rich, wonderful characters and good writing.”

      -Courtney Flynn, Trident Booksellers & Cafe (Boston, MA)

    • The Readymade Thief, Augustus Rose
      Viking, 9780735221833, August 1, 2017 (Fiction)

      “Lee is a 17-year-old girl who has gotten into a bit of trouble. Not that she is innocent, or completely guilty either. She runs with the wrong crowd, steals something that is not hers, and now she is on the run with nobody to turn to. Rose takes readers into the underbelly of Philadelphia, the sections that people have abandoned, to solve the mystery Lee has fallen into, which has to do with the famous artist Duchamp. Rose melds together information and story methods with amazing skill, drawing on secret societies, hacking, art theft, conspiracies, drugs, and so much more. This plot moves; it does not slow down until it reaches the conclusion, which will have you gasping for breath. Such a brilliant journey.”

      -Jason Kennedy, Boswell Book Company (Milwaukee, WI)

    • See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt
      Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802126597, August 1, 2017 (Fiction)

      “Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done takes all the major players in the Fall River murders (including Lizzie Borden) and brings their inner thoughts to life. In this thriller of a debut, each character has alternating chapters and a distinct voice, illustrating the class divisions, tensions, and possible motivations for the famous murders of 1892. I couldn’t put it down!”

      -Carolyn Hutton, Mrs. Dalloways Literary & Garden Arts (Berkeley, CA)

    • A Kind of Freedom, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
      Counterpoint, 9781619029224, August 15, 2017 (Fiction)

      “I loved the different generations in A Kind of Freedom, beginning with the parents of Evelyn and Ruby, who seem so proper and clean, to present-generation TC, a very likable, hopeful character, but one whose circumstances involve him in drugs and prison. I found the evolution of the family to present day sad but fascinating, and I couldn’t help but root for every single character. In the end, you still feel hopeful despite it all.”

      -Margot Farris, pages: a bookstore (Manhattan Beach, CA)

    • The End We Start From, Megan Hunter
      Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802126894, November 7, 2017 (Fiction)

      “I loved this slim, beautiful book. Megan Hunter’s sparse prose makes it one of the most affecting and poetic novels about the end of the world and beyond. Despite being a dystopian novel, it is hopeful. Perhaps the end is not the end.”

      -Anton Bogomazov, Politics & Prose (Washington, DC)


    • The Long Haul, Finn Murphy
      W.W. Norton, 9780393608717, June 6, 2017 (Non-Fiction)

      “Finn Murphy’s memoir of working as a long-distance mover is a delight. These are stories of people and their stuff, the nuts and bolts of moving and hauling, all with a healthy dose of astute sociological commentary. Murphy has a true gift for storytelling, making this one of the year’s sharpest, most compelling memoirs.”

      -Anton Bogomazov, Politics & Prose (Washington, DC)

    • The Glass Eye: A Memoir, Jeannie Vanasco
      Tin House, 97819410407750, October 3, 2017 (Non-Fiction)

      “An absolutely beautiful exploration of family, grief, memory, and madness, The Glass Eye is outstanding. Jeannie Vanasco promised her father before his death that she would write a book for him, never knowing the psychological and mental toll the process would ultimately take on her. Vanasco explores her family’s history: the entirely separate family her father had before she was born, the late-in-life marriage that led to Jeannie’s birth, and her own destructive behavior as she falls in and out of a mental illness, which informs the truly fascinating structure of the book. The layers found in this memoir are as plentiful as the layers found in the human eye; ultimately, it is as deeply layered as the human experience itself.”

      -Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First (Chicago, IL)

    Middle Grade

    • Sidetracked, Diana Harmon Asher
      Amulet Books, 9781419726019, August 22, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      “Joseph Friedman is a middle-school student for whom nothing goes well. He’s scrawny, he’s bullied, he has no real friends, and he has ADD. On the other hand, Joseph is very self-aware and has one teacher who pushes him to do better. Mrs. T is also his new cross-country coach. Joseph’s journey through woods and up hills slowly transforms his relationships and his confidence. Asher gives us a narrator to root for with a unique voice and a strong supporting cast.”

      -Dave Shallenberger, Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, GA)

    • The First Rule of Punk, Celia C. Pérez
      Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780425290408, August 29, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      “Twelve-year-old María Luisa (aka Malú) has moved from Florida to Chicago with her mom. For Malú, ‘fitting in’ doesn’t fit on her list, as the first rule of punk is ‘be yourself.’ Celia C. Pérez takes the ‘new kid’ story and infuses it with freshness and terrific energy.”

      -Dave Shallenberger, Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, GA)

    • The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, Karina Glaser
      HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544876392, October 3, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      “If Wes Anderson wrote The Penderwicks, it might look like The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. From the moment you step into the brownstone on 141st Street, the five Vanderbeeker children and their eccentric collection of family and friends will charm and delight you. Their attempts to keep their Scrooge-like landlord from evicting them from their beloved home are both hilarious and heartwarming, and this modern-day classic in the making will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.”

      -Melissa Posten, The Novel Neighbor (St. Louis, MO)

    • Greetings from Witness Protection!, Jake Burt
      Feiwel & Friends, 9781250107114, October 3, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      “What happens when you take a feisty, pick-pocketing teen out of foster care, give her a whole new identity, a Taser, and a new family to protect from mobsters? Greetings From Witness Protection! is a funny, entertaining, and unique story about family, friendship, identity, and starting over.”

      -Lauren Savage, The Reading Bug (San Carlos, CA)

    • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Jessica Townsend
      Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316508889, October 31, 2017 (Middle Grade)

      “Morrigan is cursed. Not cursed with warts or short height, but well and truly cursed. Every bad thing that happens to people around her must be a result of her curse. It is a lonely existence. In a world of giant talking cats and umbrella transport, this novel wraps the reader in the joy of wonderful world-building and classic middle-grade fantasy. After turning the last page, readers will be hungry for the sequel.”

      -Karin Schott, Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers (Farmington, ME)

    Young Adult

    • Saints and Misfits, S.K. Ali
      Salaam Reads, 9781481499248, June 13, 2017 (Young Adult)

      “In an ideal world, Saints and Misfits wouldn’t need to be an important tent-pole book of Muslim representation; it would be one of many books about Muslim teens doing all sorts of things. And then we could just talk about how it’s a funny, sharp, feminist book that tackles real issues with grace. It’s just really good. Read it, for that reason and more.”

      -Anna Kaufman, DIESEL: A Bookstore (Santa Monica, CA)

    • The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, F.C. Yee
      Amulet Books, 9781419725487, August 8, 2017 (Young Adult)

      The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is here to fill that Buffy- or Sailor Moon-shaped hole in your life. Warm, action-packed, and absolutely the most fun you’ll have reading a book this summer. Give Genie Lo a CW series!”

      -Allison Senecal, Old Firehouse Books (Fort Collins, CO)

    • All Rights Reserved, Gregory Scott Katsoulis
      Harlequin TEEN, 9780373212446, August 29, 2017 (Young Adult)

      “In a dystopian future in which almost all words and gestures have been copyrighted and citizens are charged for even the most basic forms of communication, the ultimate act of resistance may be to choose silence. In this richly imagined novel, Katsoulis explores ideas of free speech and the consequences of intellectual property law through characters that are sympathetic, tough, and thoroughly believable. All Rights Reserved is an excellent sci-fi thriller (with some of the best world-building I’ve seen in ages) with a great sense of humor and a political conscience. For anyone who feels the need for a little bit of revolution in their fiction, this book is just the thing.”

      -Annie Farrell, Labyrinth Books (Princeton, NJ)

    • An Enchantment of Ravens, Margaret Rogerson
      Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781481497589, September 26, 2017 (Young Adult)

      An Enchantment of Ravens is one of the most original and beautifully written fairy stories I have read in years. Rogerson’s depth of knowledge about mythology and fairy lore shines through the crafting of this story. Isobel, the gifted human artist, and Rook, the fairy prince, pursue a quest to save themselves from the harsh traditions of the fairy court.”

      -Laura Delaney, Rediscovered Books (Boise, ID)

    • Dear Martin, Nic Stone
      Crown Books for Young Readers, 9781101939499, October 17, 2017 (Young Adult)

      “I picked up Dear Martin and could not put it down. A gripping, real story that is both eye-opening and heartbreaking. This should be required reading for everyone.”

      -Kate Schlademan, The Learned Owl (Hudson, OH)

    Winter/Spring 2018


    • Everything Here is Beautiful, Mira T. Lee
      Pamela Dorman Books, 9780735221963, January 16, 2018 (Fiction)

      Told from alternating points of view, this novel is about the relationship between sisters Miranda and Lucia and the impact of mental illness upon their personal bond. Lucia is an artistic free spirit and has lived independently, in large part, because her sister, Miranda, has always been her caretaker. When Lucia’s lucidity begins to shift, Miranda’s responsibility to her sister does as well. Everything Here Is Beautiful explores the boundaries of our responsibilities to those we love, and how we might go about honoring someone’s self-determination when that person may not be stable enough to be up to the task. At what point does taking care of someone else cease to serve anyone involved, and how do you know when you’re there? Mira T. Lee’s debut work is necessary — a generous, beautiful, and frank examination of a very difficult subject.”

      -Sarah Bumstead, Vroman’s Bookstore (Pasadena, CA)

    • In Every Moment We Are Still Alive, Tom Malmquist
      Melville House, 9781612197111, January 30, 2018 (Fiction)

      "Malmquist’s writing style is unlike any I’ve recently experienced. He captures the ordinariness of daily life and of systems—medical, government—and the mundane choices we must make as citizens of these worlds. His ear for dialogue, be it in sterile hospital quarters or with family and friends, makes you feel present and privileged to be part of the conversation.

      -Janine De Boisblanc, Orinda Books (Orinda, CA)

    • Only Killers and Thieves, Paul Howarth
      HarperCollins, 9780062690968, February 6, 2018 (Fiction)

      “A heart-wrenching story of a child forced to lose his innocence. Set in the Australian outback in the years of settlement, Only Killers and Thieves is a brutal filleting of frontier life, race relations, and the ambition of men. The characters are unforgettable, and the writing is effortless yet juicy. Such a great read.”

      -Chris Morrow, Northshire Bookstore (Manchester Center, VT)

    • Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi
      Grove Press, 9780802127358, February 13, 2018 (Fiction)

      “An arresting, fiery book that’s ambitious in its aims, an inherently metaphysical novel that illustrates a singular worldview with confidence and verve. And it’s all done with a focused, original voice."

      -Justin Souther, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café (Asheville, NC)

    • Tangerine, Christine Mangan
      Ecco, 9780062686664, March 20, 2018 (Fiction)

      “I couldn’t put Tangerine down! It gives you a dark, sometimes sinister vibe that’s hard to shake—a far cry from other tales of close friendship between women who were college roommates. By leaving you in suspense until the very end over exactly what happened between them, Christine Mangan creates tension as the secrets between the women come to light. I wanted to dive inside the world of this book, even as the characters fought to escape it.”

      -Abby Fennewald, BookPeople (Austin, TX)

    • A Lucky Man: Stories, Jamel Brinkley
      Graywolf Press, 9781555978051, May 1, 2018 (Fiction)

      A Lucky Man is a short story collection I plan to recommend to everyone I know. Rarely do collections capture as many different voices as this one does, and each story is powerful on its own and as part of the whole. Jamel Brinkley has brought us characters from all walks of life who are recognizable in their struggles and their humanity. These people could be anyone you see on the street, yet Brinkley uses them to show us profound truths about ourselves and those around us.”

      -Abby Fennewald, BookPeople (Austin, TX)

    • MEM: A Novel, Bethany C. Morrow
      Unnamed Press, 9781944700553, May 22, 2018 (Fiction)

      Staged in an alternate possibility of the last century, MEM is the story of what could happen if we found a way to remove our bad memories and store them in a surrogate. Of course, these surrogates would be kept in a vault and only brought out for special occasions, maybe to impress your friends at a cocktail party. But what if one of them—let’s call her Dolores Extract #1—did not conform to the rules of the process. What if instead of only having one memory to live out over and over and over again like a bad dream she discovered how to make her own new memories? What then? Well, she might be removed from the vault and allowed to live a life of sorts, under the watchful eye of the program’s staff. This is a searing tale of consequences, of unexpected results to a science some might think has gone off the rails. But it’s also an insightful look into what makes us who we are and what happens when we can dispose of parts of ourselves we no longer want around to haunt us. This is a book that will dig its way into your own memories and keep you up at night with thoughts you just can’t turn off. What a page-turner!”

      -Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore (Spokane, WA)


    • Escape Artist: A Memoir of A Visionary Artist on Death Row, William A. Noguera
      Seven Stories Press, 9781609807979, January 9, 2018 (Non-Fiction)

      “Escape Artist is a gripping, sad, inspirational, and amazing story of being on death row in America’s worst prison and, more interestingly, the emotional journey that got Mr. Noguera into prison and how he evolved into a world-class artist and rehabilitated human being.”

      -Chris Morrow, Northshire Bookstore (Manchester Center, VT)

    • Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces, Dawn Davies
      Flatiron Books, 9781250133700, January 30, 2018 (Non-Fiction)

      “In her debut memoir, Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces, Dawn Davies’ voice is so unique and strong, I felt like I was in the company of a straight-shooting best friend—one who tells it like it is, never withholding the often messy, terrifying experiences women and mothers must face. Davies takes on all subjects—spirituality, desire and dreams, divorce, children in peril—and she invites you into her private meditation on life and her search for answers to the experiences she has endured. Often gritty and raw, Davies’ essays have the feisty gravitas of works by Roxane Gay. For readers faced with keeping up appearances and hiding the complexity and difficulties in their lives, Mothers of Sparta is liberating and will help many feel less alone. You can’t help but have tremendous compassion for Davies as she processes her past, present, and future. Davies inspires the reader to set aside pretense in order to save one’s spirit. Mothers of Sparta stays with you for weeks, months, and likely years because of Davies’ ability to dig and deliver. I will be passionately promoting this spectacular debut. It is the most powerful memoir I have read in years.”

      -Janine De Boisblanc, Orinda Books (Orinda, CA)

    • Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover
      Random House, 9780399590504, February 20, 2018 (Non-Fiction)

      “This memoir does what the best memoirs do: It takes us inside a world we have never been, shows us around, and gives us a sense of what it’s really like to live in a place that has heretofore felt so foreign and remote. Westover’s authorial voice is compelling and engaging, and she provides powerful proof that education changes lives.”

      -Lynn Rosen, Open Book Bookstore (Elkins Park, PA)

    Middle Grade

    • Just Like Jackie, Lindsey Stoddard
      HarperCollins, 9780062652911, January 2, 2018 (Middle Grade)

      “Robbie’s spirit grows fierce as she confronts grown-up problems too large for a young kid in braids and a baseball cap. She fights to protect her family and honor, but realizes she must stop battling those who have her best interest at heart. Learning to trust others is sometimes the hardest lesson of all. Robbie is brave beyond her years and has become my hero!”

      -Stacey Haerr, Warwick’s (La Jolla, CA)

    • Like Vanessa, Tami Charles
      Charlesbridge, 9781580897778, March 13, 2018 (Middle Grade)

      “All I can say is thank goodness the ’80s are back in fashion, because this gem of a book is best read sitting in front of a TV tray in a recliner. Inspired by Vanessa Williams’ 1983 Miss America win, a headstrong and pushy teacher, and a supportive and scheming grandfather, Vanessa Martin braves the small-town pageant circuit, the potential disappointment of her father, and the challenge of being dark skinned. Vanessa touches the dreamer spirit in all of us, and I cheered her on right through to the end.”

      -Kim Bissell, Broadway Books (Portland, OR)

    • Hurricane Child, Kheryn Callender
      Scholastic Press, 9781338129304, March 27, 2018 (Middle Grade)

      “Being a hurricane child myself, I instantly connected with Caroline and her bad luck. Caroline is used to being the outsider who can see ghosts, but she can’t accept that her mom left her one day and never came back. When a new, charismatic girl who may see ghosts, too, starts at her school, Caroline desperately wants to befriend her. Soon the two are inseparable, and together they search for Caroline’s mother. This wonderful, mystical tale takes the reader on a journey filled with grief and loss but also love, friendship, and hope.”

      -Holly Alexander, The Book Stall (Winnetka, IL)

    • The Boy, the Bird, & the Coffin Maker, Matilda Woods
      Philomel Books, 9780525515210, May 15, 2018 (Middle Grade)

      “A gentle tale—with a healthy dose of magic—about friendship, hope, and looking to the future. It reads like a newly discovered folktale that, once found, becomes essential. Sure to delight questing readers of all ages.”

      -Sam Miller, Carmichael’s Bookstore (Louisville, KY)

    • The Mortification of Fovea Munson, Mary Winn Heider
      Disney-Hyperion, 9781484780541, June 5, 2018 (Middle Grade)

      “Quirky is an understatement for this rollicking ride of a story! Cadavers, talking heads, barbershop quartets, and one plucky eighth-grader by the name of Fovea Munson make this fun from start to finish!”

      -Kathleen Carey, Little Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza (Albany, NY)

    Young Adult

    • You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, Rachel Lynn Solomon
      Simon Pulse, 9781481497732, January 2, 2018 (Young Adult)

      “This story unfolds as twin sisters search for common ground while navigating the complexities of life, love, and the devastating realization that their fates are already sealed. I cried knowing that each twin would suffer immeasurable loss, yet only one would succumb.”

      -Stacey Haerr, Warwick’s (La Jolla, CA)

    • Love, Hate & Other Filters, Samira Ahmed
      Soho TEEN, 9781616958473, January 16, 2018 (Young Adult)

      “This compelling contemporary read features an unapologetic Indian-American heroine trying to navigate crushes, dreams for her future, and the expectations of her family in a world where her culture is routinely misunderstood. A timely read that deftly tempers difficult topics with levity and a wonderful narrative voice!”

      -Rebecca Wells, Porter Square Books (Cambridge, MA)

    • The Dangerous Art of Blending In, Angelo Surmelis
      Balzer + Bray, 9780062659002, January 30, 2018 (Young Adult)

      “This book is not an easy read. The Dangerous Art of Blending In is brutally painful, both in its depictions of Evan Panos’ family and his awkward, lonely life at school. But read it anyway! Because Evan is a kid worth rooting for as he decides in his senior year to take risks and stand out. His realistic struggle to move beyond pain and open up to friends, love and his future, is an honest, heart-wrenching testament to human resilience.”

      -Katie McGinley, Wild Rumpus (Minneapolis, MN)

    • The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert
      Flatiron Books, 9781250147905, January 30, 2018 (Young Adult)

      The Hazel Wood is flawless, fully realized, and gorgeously written. It has brilliant plot twists, a sweet story of love and friendship, and complex family drama. It seems to have sprung fully formed from the pen of an author at the top of her game, not a debut novelist. This is the book everyone’s going to be reading."

      -Christie Olson Day, Gallery Bookshop and Bookwinkle’s Children’s Books (Mendocino, CA)

    • The Astonishing Color of After, Emily X.R. Pan
      Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316463997, March 20, 2018 (Young Adult)

      “‘Astonishing’ is the perfect description for this book, which follows Leigh from America to Taiwan, where she meets her grandparents for the first time after her mother’s death. I was stunned by the beautiful and engaging writing in this book; the story consumed me from start to finish. It’s hard to believe that this is Emily X.R. Pan’s debut novel, especially with the perfectly executed deep and complex themes. It will definitely be a favorite among both adults and teen readers!

      -Kristen Beverly, Half Price Books (Dallas, TX)

    Winter/Spring 2015

    Middle Grade

    • The Honest Truth, Dan Gemeinhart
      Scholastic Press, 9780545665735, January 27, 2015 (Middle Grade)

      I couldn’t put THE HONEST TRUTH down while reading it, and I can’t get it out of my mind now. This is a book about a boy, his dog, and a dream that will stay with you for a long, long time.

      -Tami Furlong, Fundamentals Children’s Books (Delaware, OH)

    • Murder is Bad Manners, Robin Stevens
      Simon & Schuster BFYR, 9781481422123, April 21, 2015 (Middle Grade)

      I loved this book for its utterly relatable characters, its enticing narrative voice, and pitch perfect representation of an all-girls school social dynamic.

      -Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Books Inc. (San Francisco, CA)

    • Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, Kelly Jones
      Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385755528, May 12, 2015 (Middle Grade)

      Fantastic! Told in letters, this is sweet and funny, with a touch of magic and tons of chickens! It’s a perfect entertaining-but-meaningful read for the elementary set.

      -Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company (Seattle, WA)

    Young Adult

    • Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard
      HarperTeen, 9780062310637, February 10, 2015 (Young Adult)

      In a world where the color of your blood determines your status, rights and quality of life, Silvers rule. In an epic story of rebellion and love, RED QUEEN will have your own blood thumping.

      -Hannah Moushabeck, Odyssey Bookshop (South Hadley, MA)

    • Mosquitoland, David Arnold
      Ken Wright/Viking Juvenile, 9780451470775, March 3, 2015 (Young Adult)

      I count this book alongside some of the most beautiful things I’ve had the privilege of holding. I feel so, so lucky to have read it.

      -Cristin Stickles, McNally Jackson (New York, NY)

    • We All Looked Up, Tommy Wallach
      Simon & Schuster BFYR, 9781481418775, March 31, 2015 (Young Adult)

      Wallach’s words are poetry in prose form. WE ALL LOOKED UP left me feeling light, hopeful and contemplative.

      -Brandi Stewart, Changing Hands Bookstore (Tempe, AZ)

    • An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir
      Ben Schrank/Razorbill, 9781595148032, April 28, 2015 (Young Adult)

      The world-making here is astounding and will consume your every thought until the very last page. And even then, you won’t want to let go.

      -Sarah Chen, Mysterious Galaxy (Southern California)

    • Conviction, Kelly Loy Gilbert
      Disney-Hyperion, 9781423197386, May 19, 2015 (Young Adult)

      My heart is still bleeding for Braden, days after finishing CONVICTION, which I highly recommend for both adults and teens.

      -Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction (Greenville, SC)

    • Because You’ll Never Meet Me, Leah Thomas
      Bloomsbury Children’s, 9781619635906, June 2, 2015 (Young Adult)

      Ollie and Moritz are delightfully well-rendered characters, each with a distinct and powerful voice. This is a debut author to watch out for and a book I’ll be recommending for a long time to come.

      -Sarah Holt, Left Bank Books (St. Louis, MO)

    • Denton Little’s Deathdate, Lance Rubin
      Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780553496963, April 14, 2015 (Young Adult)

      Outrageous with a rollicking pace, this debut in which everyone knows the date they die will leave you breathless and charmed.

      -Sarah Chen, Mysterious Galaxy (Southern California)


    • Etta and Otto and Russell and James: A Novel, Emma Hooper
      Simon & Schuster, 9781476755670, January 20, 2015 (Fiction)

      Wry and quirky, a little bit magical, and perfectly pitched, ETTA AND OTTO AND RUSSELL AND JAMES is a truly marvelous debut.

      -Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver, CO)

    • Black River, S.M. Hulse
      Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544309876, January 20, 2015 (Fiction)

      S.M. Hulse has written a wonderful novel that weaves together classic Western themes of family, obligation, love, anger, forgiveness, and music.

      -Luisa Smith, Book Passage (Corte Madera, CA)

    • Wolf Winter, Cecilia Ekbäck
      Weinstein Books, 9781602862524, January 27, 2015 (Fiction)

      Cecilia Ekbäck’s tale of Swedish Lapland in 1717 gives insight into the land and people of the far north – and is hard to let go.

      -Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction (Missoula, MT)

    • Young Skins, Colin Barrett
      Black Cat, 9780802123329, March 3, 2015 (Fiction)

      These short stories, set in and around the small Irish town of Glanbeigh, County Mayo, are just tiny glimpses, vignettes of the lives of some of the younger class of residents. A blazing, outstanding debut by a very talented young writer who I can’t wait to see more from.

      -Seth Marko, UC San Diego Bookstore (San Diego, CA)

    • The Valley, John Renehan
      Dutton Adult, 9780525954866, March 10, 2015 (Fiction)

      THE VALLEY is rich with detail, compelling and complex. It is a war novel, but also a mystery and psychological drama. As with the best novels, it will stay with the reader long after the book is closed.

      -Lyn Roberts, Square Books (Oxford, MS)

    • Soil: A Novel, Jamie Kornegay
      Simon & Schuster, 9781476750811, March 10, 2015 (Fiction)

      Independent bookseller Jamie Kornegay has confidently announced himself as a voice to watch. SOIL is a tension machine, tightening the screws on the increasingly paranoid Jay Mize in a way that’s impossible to put down.

      -Josh Christie, Sherman’s Books (Yarmouth, ME)

    • Church of Marvels, Leslie Parry
      Ecco, 9780062367556, May 12, 2015 (Fiction)

      I loved all the details of this trying life in early New York City, the brothels, the opium dens, and just the endless days of trying to survive. Parry is in the same realm as THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

      -Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books (Mystic, CT)

    • The Travels of Daniel Ascher, Déborah Lévy-Bertherat
      Other Press, 9781590517079, May 26, 2015 (Fiction)

      Helene is in Paris, living in an attic room of her uncle’s home. What Helene discovers in the house and about her family make for a delightful adventure.

      -Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction (Missoula, MT)


    • The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan, Rafia Zakaria
      Beacon Press, 9780807003367, February 3, 2015 (Non-Fiction)

      Rafia Zakaria weaves together national history and generations of family history to create the story of women in Pakistan in her compelling debut book, THE UPSTAIRS WIFE.

      -Amanda Bullock, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (New York, NY)

    • Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter`, Nina MacLaughlin
      W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393239133, March 16, 2015 (Non-Fiction)

      [Nina MacLaughlin’s] vivid descriptions of the different jobs she learned to do, of the satisfaction of making something physical, her one-of-a-kind boss, and the learning curves involved in the experience made this an absolutely fascinating memoir. I loved it.”

      -Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books and Music (Okemos, MI)

    Winter/Spring 2016


    • Tuesday Nights in 1980, Molly Prentiss
      Simon & Schuster/Scout Press, 9781501121043, April 5, 2016 (Fiction)

      Tuesday Nights in 1980 exudes an alchemical talent. Only magic can explain Molly Prentiss’ pitch-perfect evocation of the excitement, energy, and squalor that were palpable in NYC’s art world at the dawn of a new decade.

      -Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, (Bryn Mawr, PA)

    • Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Ed Tarkington
      Algonquin Books, 9781616203825, January 5, 2016 (Fiction)

      Infused with the haunting melancholy of a Southern Gothic novel, Only Love Can Break Your Heart is a suspenseful tale of heartbreak, betrayal, and timeless love. This is, without a doubt, my favorite debut novel this spring!

      -Shirley Wells, Watermark Books & Café, (Wichita, KS)

    • Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, Sunil Yapa
      Hachette/Lee Boudreaux Books, 9780316386531, January 12, 2016 (Fiction)

      Sunil Yapa immerses the reader in an explosive view of the 1999 Seattle WTO protests. By challenging assumptions and creating empathy for his characters in this gripping novel, he shows the convergence of a vast range of perspectives within a few city blocks.

      -Emily Adams, Third Place Books. (Lake Forest, WA)

    • Hide, Matthew Griffin
      Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781632863386, February 16, 2016 (Fiction)

      In a struggling small town in North Carolina lives the long-married couple Frank and Wendell.These are not characters we usually see in fiction – poor, rural, gay, and old – but Griffin draws them honestly, and we come to care deeply for them. 

      - Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books, (Danville, CA)

    • We've Already Gone This Far, Patrick Dacey
      Henry Holt, 9781627794657, February 16, 2016 (Fiction)

      Dacey’s perfectly crafted short stories of a blue-collar Massachusetts town and its unforgettable characters are told with dignity and heart. They reflect the hope and determination of people who still have further to go. This is the debut of a naturally gifted storyteller.

      -Mary Wolf, Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse (Santa Fe, NM)

    • Spill Simmer Falter Wither, Sara Baume
      Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544716193, March 8, 2016 (Fiction)

      Poetic, precise, and playful, this novel takes readers through a year of the narrator's life with a rescue dog. Though it seems to rehash the oft-told tale of two lonely creatures finding solace in companionship, it is altogether wilder, utterly unsentimental, and profoundly moving. 

      -Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, (Bryn Mawr, PA)

    • Relief Map, Rosalie Knecht
      Tin House Books, 9781941040225, March 27, 2016 (Fiction)

      In her beautifully written, fresh debut novel, Rosalie Knecht puts us in the middle of summer in a small rust-belt town in Pennsylvania. Lulling prose, vivid characters, and a sense of placemake this a rich and memorable read from an exciting new talent.

      - Linda McLoughlin Figel, pages: a bookstore, (Manhattan Beach, CA)

    • Born on a Tuesday, Elnathan John
      Grove Atlantic/Black Cat, 9780802124821, May 3, 2016 (Fiction)

      Born on a Tuesday is a compelling debut novel set during the time of a Nigerian politcal uprising that is at once frightening and horrific, yet authentic and compassionate. Masterful.

      -Jenny Lyons, The Vermont Book Shop, (Middlebury, VT)

    • The Mirror Thief, Martin Seay
      Melville House, 9781612195148, May 10, 2016 (Fiction)

      Martin Seay proves he is a talent to watch with this smart, ambitious debut novel that ranges from Vegas to Venice, and spans several time periods in between. The Mirror Thief is a winding tale with complicated characters and plenty of action.

      -Rebekah Hendrian, Book Nook & Java Shop, (Montague, MI)

    Middle Grade

    • Beetle Boy, M.G. Leonard
      Scholastic/Chicken House, 9780545853460, February 23, 2016 (Middle Grade)

      Wickedly comedic buffoons, genetically modified villains, industrious insects, and a scrappy protagonist fighting for his father’s life keep this old-fashioned-feeling story fresh and contemporary.Readers will find themselves cheering for Beetle Boy and his amazing beetles.

      -Erin Barker, Hooray for Books! (Alexandria, VA)

    • Hour of the Bees, Lindsay Eagar
      Candlewick Press, 9780763679224, March 8, 2016 (Middle Grade)

      This debut is so innovative, it’s almost audacious. As you read the final sequence in Hour ofthe Bees, you will be asking yourself, “Oh my gosh, am I really reading this? Am I really,really reading this?” And the thing is, YES, YOU REALLY ARE!

      -Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, (Athens, GA)


    • Soul Serenade: Rhythm, Blues & Coming of Age Through Vinyl, Rashod Ollison
      Beacon Press, 9780807057520, January 26, 2016 (Non-Fiction)

      Soul Serenade is a heartbreaking, gratifying memoir of family chaos, a personal identity crisis, and civil rights buoyed by memories of great music and artists. This is an important book for people to read.

      -Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books, (Chapel Hill, NC)

    Young Adult

    • Underwater, Marisa Reichardt
      Macmillan Children's/Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR), 9780374368869, January 12, 2016 (Young Adult)

      This book, called Underwater, has actual resuscitative powers.

      -Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, (Athens, GA)

    • Anna and the Swallow Man, Gavriel Savit
      Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780553513349, January 26, 2016 (Young Adult)

      Orphaned and alone at the start of WWII, Anna is taken in by the mysterious Swallow Man. Like the Swallow Man, author Savit recognizes the power of language — that words can envelop a reader in an experience that manages to leave you enchanted and brokenhearted.

      -Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books, (Traverse City, MI)

    • The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig
      HarperCollins/Greenwillow Books, 9780062380753, February 16, 2016 (Young Adult)

      The Girl from Everywhere has everything—mystery and adventure, complicated people and relationships, romance and intrigue, and that extra something special necessary for a really good read.

      -Danielle Borsch, Vroman’s Bookstore, (Pasadena, CA)

    • Kill the Boy Band, Goldy Moldavsky
      Scholastic Press, 9780545867474, February 23, 2016 (Young Adult)

      The world of fandom is a fascinating and terrifying place. Watching someone wake up fromliving that dream (or nightmare) is told here with an obvious love for the drama and flair of a 1980s cult film. I loved this book, and cannot wait for more from Moldavsky.

      -Kari Meutsch, Phoenix Books, (Essex, VT)

    • The Smell of Other People's Houses, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
      Wendy Lamb Books, 9780553497786, February 23, 2016 (Young Adult)

      Set in the decade after Alaska achieved statehood, this novel follows four teenagers as they fight for the life they really want. The Smell of Other People’s Houses is a thoughtful, realistic novel about community, both the one you are born into, and the one you can create.

      -Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, (Alexandria, VA)

    • The Serpent King, Jeff Zentner
      Crown Books for Young Readers, 9780553524024, March 8, 2016 (Young Adult)

      The Serpent King and its characters lurked in my head for weeks after reading this debut novel. Dill, Travis, and Lydia’s story, bumpy and sometimes tragic as it is, is a real story of friendship and heart.

      -Shoshana Smith, The Reading Bug, (San Carlos, CA)

    • End of FUN, Sean McGinty
      Disney Hyperion, 9781484722114, April 5, 2016 (Young Adult)

      Put M.T. Anderson, Cory Doctorow, Andrew Smith, and Hunter S. Thompson in a blender and you will get Sean McGinty’s brilliantly funny debut. It is a coming-of-age novel like no other. McGinty has expertly crafted what is sure to become a cult classic for the tech generation.

      -Caitlin Baker, University Book Store, (Seattle, WA)

    • The Square Root of Summer, Harriet Reuter Hapgood
      Macmillan Children's/Roaring Brook Press, 9781626723733, May 3, 2016 (Young Adult)

      Gottie, a 17-year-old physics prodigy, has had a double dose of heartbreak. Since then, she’s immersed herself in a world of equations and theories. Harriet Reuter Hapgood addresses grief and the complexity of emotions that come with it in a way that rings true and does not romanticize loss.

      -Drew Sieplinga, Wild Rumpus Books, (Minneapolis, MN)

    Winter/Spring 2013


    • The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: A Novel, Kristopher Jansma
      Penguin Adult, 9780670026005, March 21, 2013 (Fiction)

    • Heart of Palm, Laura Lee Smith
      Grove Press , 9780802121028, April 2, 2013 (Fiction)

    • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel, Helene Wecker
      HarperCollins, 9780062110831, April 23, 2013 (Fiction)

    • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel, Anthony Marra
      Hogarth, 9780770436407, May 7, 2013 (Fiction)

    • We Need New Names: A Novel, NoViolet Bulawayo
      Reagan Arthur Books , 9780316230810, May 21, 2013 (Fiction)

    • The Blood of Heaven, Kent Wascom
      Grove Press, 9780802121189, May 28, 2013 (Fiction)

    Middle Grade

    • Zebra Forest, Adina Rishe Gewirtz
      Candlewick, 9780763660413, April 9, 2013 (Middle Grade)

    • The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani
      HarperCollins, 9780062104892, May 14, 2013 (Middle Grade)

    • An Army of Frogs: A Kulipari Novel, Trevor Pryce
      Harry N. Abrams, 9781419701726, May 6, 2015 (Middle Grade)


    • Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard, Laura Bates
      Sourcebooks, 9781402273148, April 2, 2013 (Non-Fiction)

    Young Adult

    • The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson
      Arthur A. Levine Books, 9780545417792, March 1, 2013 (Young Adult)

    Summer/Fall 2013


    • The Gravity of Birds: A Novel, Tracy Guzeman
      Simon & Schuster, 9781451689761, August 6, 2013 (Fiction)

    • The Residue Years, Mitchell S. Jackson
      Bloomsbury USA, 9781620400289, August 20, 2013 (Fiction)

    • The President's Hat, Antoine Laurain
      Gallic Books Limited, 9781908313478, September 3, 2013 (Fiction)

    • Burial Rites: A Novel, Hannah Kent
      Little, Brown and Company, 9780316243919, September 10, 2013 (Fiction)

    • The Rosie Project: A Novel, Graeme Simsion
      Simon & Schuster, 9781476729084, October 1, 2013 (Fiction)

    • The Night Guest: A Novel, Fiona McFarlane
      Faber & Faber, 9780865477735, October 1, 2013 (Fiction)

    • The Lion Seeker, Kenneth Bonert
      Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780547898049, October 15, 2013 (Fiction)

    • The Last Animal, Abby Geni
      Counterpoint, 9781619021822, October 15, 2013 (Fiction)

    • The Cartographer Of No Man's Land, P.S. Duffy
      W. W. Norton, 9780871403766, October 28, 2013 (Fiction)

    • Monument Road, Charlie Quimby
      Torrey House Press, 9781937226251, November 12, 2013 (Fiction)

    Middle Grade

    • Sky Jumpers: Book 1, Peggy Eddleman
      Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780307981271, September 24, 2013 (Middle Grade)

    • Rooftoppers, Katherine Rundell
      Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781442490581, September 24, 2013 (Middle Grade)

    • Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, Octavia Spencer
      Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781442476813, October 15, 2013 (Middle Grade)


    • Knocking On Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death, Katy Butler
      Scribner, 9781451641974, September 10, 2013 (Non-Fiction)

    • The Faithful Scribe: A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family, and War, Shahan Mufti
      Other Press, 9781590515051, September 24, 2013 (Non-Fiction)

    Young Adult

    • Gated, Amy Christine Parker
      Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780449815977, August 6, 2013 (Young Adult)

    • Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy, Elizabeth Kiem
      Soho Teen, 9781616952631, August 13, 2013 (Young Adult)

    • If You Could Be Mine: A Novel, Sara Farizan
      Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616202514, August 20, 2013 (Young Adult)

    • Jumped In, Patrick Flores-Scott
      Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9780805095142, August 27, 2013 (Young Adult)

    • All Our Yesterdays, Cristin Terrill
      Disney-Hyperion, 9781423176374, September 3, 2013 (Young Adult)

    • How to Love, Katie Cotugno
      Balzer + Bray, 9780062216359, October 1, 2013 (Young Adult)

    • The Twistrose Key, Tone Almhjell
      Dial Books, 9780803738959, October 22, 2013 (Young Adult)

    Winter/Spring 2014


    • The Kept: A Novel, James Scott
      Harper, 9780062236739, January 7, 2014 (Fiction)

    • The UnAmericans: Stories, Molly Antopol
      W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393241136, February 3, 2014 (Fiction)

    • The Wives of Los Alamos: A Novel, TaraShea Nesbit
      Bloomsbury USA, 9781620405031, February 25, 2014 (Fiction)

    • Shotgun Lovesongs: A Novel, Nickolas Butler
      Thomas Dunne Books, 9781250039811, March 11, 2014 (Fiction)

    • Faces in the Crowd, Valeria Luiselli
      Coffee House Press , 9781566893541, May 13, 2014 (Fiction)

    • Point of Direction, Rachel Weaver
      Ig Publishing, 9781935439912, May 13, 2014 (Fiction)

    Middle Grade

    • Knightly & Son, Rohan Gavin
      Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 9781619631533, March 4, 2014 (Middle Grade)

      Could there be anything more evil than a fatuous self help book? The answer lies in the pages of Knightly & Son, where it shares space with some terrific espionage, puzzle solving, humor and some very entertaining, if belated, father and son bonding. As enjoyable as it is engaging, Knightly & Sons succeeds in its dual plans of unmasking a nefarious conspiracy and captivating middle grade readers.

      -Kenny Brechner, DDG Books, Farmington, ME

    • Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile, Marcia Wells
      HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544238336, April 1, 2014 (Middle Grade)

      Fast paced, funny, and action packed, readers are going to love Eddie Red, Undercover. Eddie has a photographic memory, which the NYPD would desperately like to use to catch crooks. Because Marcia Wells tells the story in flashback, we are ready to learn how the pieces fall into place. Kids will relate to the horrible embarrassment that parents inflict on their children every day. I laughed, and I know readers will as well.

      -Valerie Koehler, Blue WIllow Bookshop, Houston, TX

    • Steering Toward Normal, Rebecca Petruck
      Harry N. Abrams, 9781419707322, May 13, 2014 (Middle Grade)

      Diggy had one goal for 8th grade: win Grand Champion at the state fair. That is, until Wayne’s dad dumps him on Diggy and Pop’s doorstep: “He says you’re my dad and I have to live here now.” The next year is spent training steers, pranking brothers, teaching and fighting, doubting and trusting, hating and loving. This blue-ribbon writing full of truth, pathos, humor, and 4-H tells a story of fathers, sons, and a brother who discovers himself and a family he never knew he needed.

      -Summer Laurie, Books, Inc., San Francisco, CA


    • If Only You People Could Follow Directions: A Memoir, Jessica Hendry Nelson
      Counterpoint, 9781619022331, December 31, 2013 (Non-Fiction)

      Memory doesn’t move in a straight line. It is chaotic, digressive, and imperfect. While most memoirs force life into the restrictions of straight lines, Nelson embraces the chaos by moving back and forth in time, free associating among memories, and organizing her life into a series of essays. What could be just another memoir of a family disintegrated by substance abuse becomes a vibrant and challenging exploration of abuse, obsession, coping, family, friendship, and self-discovery.

      -Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

    • Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo, Anjan Sundaram
      Doubleday, 9780385537759, January 7, 2014 (Non-Fiction)

      Sundaram's clearly written and concise account of working for the Associated Press in the Congo is an addictive, informative, and fast-paced read. Fans of Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers will find much to like.

      -Michele Filgate, Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

    • Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West, Bryce Andrews
      Atria Books, 9781476710839, January 7, 2014 (Non-Fiction)

      This short memoir is a fascinating read, covering the subtle evolution of the author as he immerses himself in the rugged life of a Montana ranch hand. Peppered with interesting detail about the daily and sometimes mundane tasks on the ranch, Andrews gives the reader a sense of the work and the mix of isolation and camaraderie that he experienced. It’s not the story of a young man trying to find himself, but that of a young man growing into himself. The real story is in the growing relationship between the author, the work, the land, the weather, the cattle, and the wolves.

      -Kelly Estep, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

    • Pigs Can't Swim: A Memoir, Helen Peppe
      Da Capo Press, 9780306822728, February 4, 2014 (Non-Fiction)

      Fresh and frank, Helen Peppe’s memoir, Pigs Can’t Swim, is at once laugh-out-loud funny and tragic. In the hardscrabble environment of rural Maine, Helen grew up as the youngest in a family of nine. Using the delightful but gritty language of a child wise beyond her years, she shares stories of sibling rivalry, parental neglect, and general childhood angst. Book clubs in particular will find much to discuss in these pages. This debut gem showcases the voice of a fresh, talented author. Readers can only hope that Peppe doesn’t wait long before writing her next book. Recommended for all!

      -Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

    Young Adult

    • Half Bad, Sally Green
      Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780670016785, March 4, 2014 (Young Adult)

      Nathan’s mother was a white witch.  His father is the most evil black witch that ever lived. His schoolmates avoid him. His sister hates him. The Council of White Witches in Scotland, England, and Wales want to monitor his every move. And even though his Gran and his younger siblings love him, Nathan knows he doesn’t belong. Not really. Not anywhere. If he’s a white witch like his mother, can he be accepted?  If he’s a black witch like his father, will the Council destroy him? If Nathan can’t control what he will become, can he at least survive to find out who he is?  Half Bad is a gripping allegory of racism, love, and destiny.

      -Kris Vreeland, Once Upon a Time Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

    • Salvage, Alexandra Duncan
      Greenwillow Books, 9780062220141, April 1, 2014 (Young Adult)

      This epic sci-fi coming-of-age story follows its heroine from an interstellar merchant ship to the streets of a near-future Mumbai. Through heartbreaking losses and unimagined achievements, helped by a beautiful cast of supporting characters, Ava bucks the traditions of her family and culture and becomes a young woman who stands on her own.

      -Emily Ring, Inklings Bookshop, Yakima, WA

    • Far From You, Tess Sharpe
      Disney-Hyperion, 9781423184621, April 8, 2014 (Young Adult)

      Part murder mystery, part forbidden romance, this lovely novel is both chilling and poignant. I adored the heroine, Sophie, for her strength and perseverance in the face of grief, betrayal, and the painful accusations leveled at her after her best friend’s death. The nail-bitingly tense action kept me up reading until late in the night, and the thrilling conclusion didn’t disappoint.

      -Emily Ring, Inklings Bookshop, Yakima, WA

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